tv The Civil War CSPAN September 7, 2014 10:00am-11:06am EDT
university of west georgia professor professor, keith bohanon discusses the 1864 atlanta campaign. in the summer of 1864, general sherman marched south from to ga with the goal of capturing atlanta. after a series of battles this is about one hour. >> before we get started, the map you see up here is a campaign map. the smaller map indicates the main battle.
i know it is probably difficult for those of you in the back of the room to see the small details and maybe read the print, so what we did -- or actually, what pete's staff did, was actually include this in your maps and handbooks book. if you turn to page nine, you will see this map in their. you might want to refer to this. it is probably a little easier to read. i will be making frequent reference to this map as it will help us understand the course of the campaign. as general in chief of all military forces in 1864, u.s. grant devised accord mated offensive by a number of union army stretching from louisiana all the way to virginia. as you know already, the two most important of these offenses were those of the army of the potomac here in virginia, and that of william t sherman, who commanded what was called the military division of the mississippi.
grants orders to sherman for the campaign, dated april 4, 18 64, were pretty straightforward. grant told sherman to move against the confederate armies of tennessee commanded by general joseph e johnson, and to break it up, get into the interior of the enemies country as far as you can and inflict as much damage as you can. at the same time, sherman was supposed to prevent johnson from detaching elements of his army to reinforce either lee's army in virginia or confederate forces out in louisiana. that is sherman's objective in the atlanta campaign. if you look at sherman's record during the civil war up until the spring of 1864, in many ways, it is not that impressive, particularly if you look at his
performance on the battlefield. during the vicksburg campaign of 1862, chattanooga, missionary ridge, sherman -- the attack sherman launched in those battles were piecemeal and repulsed. he does not have a particularly impressive record on the battlefield. his reputation rest primarily on what he did in 1864 and 1865, the infamous grand grand strategy. sherman targeted not only the armies of tennessee, but also the ability of the confederacy to wage war. during the campaign in the spring and summer of 1864, the city of atlanta symbolize the way the confederacy waged war. it was a vital rail center in
the deep south and was filled with important war industries, factories and mills turning out uniforms and accoutrements for the confederate army. sherman also sought to demoralize the confederate soldiers and civilians to prove to these people that their government could no longer defend them. he said war is cruelty and you cannot refine it. he is an eminently quotable individual, as many of you know. his letters are absolutely superb. i would highly, highly recommend the collected correspondence of
william t sherman, one of the most important edited volumes in many decades. brooks simpson, who is on the faculty here, is one of the coeditors of that. throughout the campaign, sherman largely avoided launching frontal attacks against his entrenched opponents. instead, what he repeatedly did was utilize and maneuver flanking movements to rest confederates from strong defensive positions. i think sherman's greatness also derives from his mastery of logistics. keeping an enormous field army supply day after day, very deep in enemy territory. sherman's army numbered over 100,000 men. it had 28,000 horses, 33,000 mules. imagine trying to supply an army of that size day after day after day. the only way to do it, of course, was via railroads.
sherman, in the months leading up to the campaign which began in may, 1860 four, had hundreds and hundreds of trains moving down a rail system through kentucky and tennessee, stockpiling supplies in nashville and chattanooga. in chattanooga alone, between the months of march and may 1864 there were 165 rail cars unloading on a daily basis there. he is building supply bases he will need as he advances into georgia. during the campaign, he had about 5000 wagons that were constantly on the move from the railroad to the army in the field. as richard mcmurray writes in one of the best overviews of the campaign -- and like other speakers you have heard, i am going to throw out some book titles.
mcmurray's atlanta 1864 is a very good overview. decision in the west by albert castel is also a great book. mcmurray points out that sherman had a couple of big advantages over his opponent at the start of the atlanta campaign. first, sherman had command of a vast apartment that stretched from the appellation mountains in the east all the way to the mississippi river. he commanded troops through this vast division of the mississippi. johnson, on the other hand, commanded a much smaller department. he had no authority over the states of alabama and mississippi. he could not ordered troops from those states to join his army fighting in georgia. he also had the support of his
military and civilian superiors. sherman and grant had a very good relationship and lincoln was also very supportive of sherman's campaigns. at the start of the campaign, sherman's armies numbered about 110,000 men. he commanded three separate armies. the largest of these was the army of the cumberland, which numbered close to 73,000 men at the start of the campaign, commanded by general george h thomas, a professional soldier. again, if you look at performance on the battlefield, thomas had a far more impressive record on the battlefield than richard t sherman. he performed superbly a chicken onto. actually saved the union army at chickamauga as many of you probably know.
thomas's troops had shattered confederate lines at missionary ridge. thomas was impressive soldier. and some historians have even argued that thomas would've made it that are commander of the federal army during the atlanta campaign dan sherman. but, but. thomas did not have a very good working relationship with ulysses s. grant. simpson actually are alluded to this yesterday in his talk when he was talking about the tennessee campaign in 1864. thomas also had a reputation of being a very slow, very methodical soldier, and that caused sherman some frustration during the atlanta campaign. thomas is a very, very important subordinate, but he is an army campaigner under sherman. the second largest of sherman's army was his old command, the
army of tennessee. it was his favorite army, and it was also the most successful union army of the civil war. a recent book on the armies of tennessee is entitled "nothing but victory," and that army never knew defeat on the battlefield. it's commander during the atlanta campaign was james b mcpherson, a west point graduate who served on grants staff earlier in the civil war. he was a great, great favorite of both grant and sherman. in fact, both men wrote that they could see a commanding all the union armies. sherman writes a letter to grant that he feels confident that
mcpherson can take command of the union army and win ultimate victory. the smallest of sherman's armies, which is just a single core, is the army of the ohio which numbers close to 13,000 men, under general john m schofield, a west pointer and someone sherman trusts, who performs very well during the campaign. sherman also had three divisions of cavalry numbering 89 hundred men, although sherman does not think very much of his cavalry generals or that branch of the service. i think we can rightfully criticized sherman for his poor employment of cavalry during the atlanta campaign. he in fact thinks the confederate cavalry is superior, and he is particularly worried about the campaign under the cavalry. the close relationship that existed between sherman and his
civilian and military superiors stood in stark contrast, dark contrast, to the relationship between joseph p johnson and confederate president jefferson davis. the two men did not like each other at all. and the wrangling in the strange relationship between the two dated all the way back to early in the war when there was wrangling over the issue of rank, which general should have the highest rank in the confederate army.
bob krick has written a superb essay about this. the relationship between the two men is very strained between the two. in the months prior to the campaign, jefferson davis had repeatedly asked johnson to go on the defensive. on your map, if you look in the corner up there, your upper left-hand corner, you can see the red lines on the map up here indicate the confederate positions taken during the campaign. the blue lines are the federal positions. during the first few months of 1864, the confederate surrounded a camp in northwest georgia. the army had been shattered at the battle of missionary ridge in november of 1863 under the command of braxton bragg.
it had been a humiliating, disastrous defeat for the army. and johnson is brought in, and johnson in some ways is like george mcclellan. he is a superb organizer and motivator of men. he rebuilds the army. he boosts the morale of the soldiers, and the confederate soldiers in the army of tennessee loved joe johnson. he knows that they care about -- he cares about their welfare. that is one thing about him as a general. but while he is rebuilding the army and its winter camps, jefferson davis repeatedly asks johnson to take the offensive against the federals who are camped not all that far north in the vicinity of chattanooga, tennessee. davis once johnson to march, but
johnson claims his army is outnumbered by the yankees. the army doesn't have the adequate supplies or logistical capabilities of marching up into east tennessee. now, unfortunately for johnson, the davis administration is getting very different reports and surname -- concerning the army of tennessee from some of johnson subordinates. they are sending back reports that the army is in great shape and should take the offensive, so the davis administration is unsure who to believe although he is inclined to believe the core commanders. during the campaign, up until the time of his removal, one of joe johnson's weaknesses as his continual failure to provide davis and his administration with detailed, regular reports of what going on. if you look in the correspondence section of the official record and compare lee's correspondence with davis
is during the campaign with what joe johnson was sending, there is a stark contrast. johnson's wife in late may, 18 64, suggested to her husband that it might be a good idea for him to keep the government better informed of what his plans are. and johnson says, replies to her that her suggestion was a judicious one but that "the people in richmond take no interest in any partial affairs that may occur in this quarter," suggesting, obviously, that what jefferson davis is really sick. -- is really concerned about are his men in virginia. the strategy then in 1864 was to remain in a strong defensive position around dalton behind a high ridge line called rockies ridge that you can see on your map.
and to await an attack by the federals. when the federals attacked, the confederates would defeat them and gain a victory and then move west to alabama or north to tennessee. johnson's army at its peak strength a few weeks into the campaign was about 69 thousand men divided into three quarters under the command of william j hardy -- three corps under william j hardy, a judicious general, and folk. -- polk.
johnson also had a cavalry of 7000 or 8000 men. the campaign began in the first week of may of 1864, and sherman's plan, which was actually a plan the george thomas originally devised and that sherman adopted, with some modifications -- sherman modified what thomas suggested -- that sherman's plan is to have the army of the ohio and the army of the cumberland demonstrate against the confederate positions north and west of dalton. so keep johnson's attention focused on the immediate vicinity of dalton. mcpherson's army then would march west, south, and west of rocky face ridge, and you can see on the map here again in the upper left corner the movement of the three armies, or you can look on your map there. he was to march south of dalton, west of rocky face ridge, and
come out on the eastern side of this ridge line, and then break johnson's supply line on the railroad. a western atlantic is the supply line for both armies during the atlanta campaign. it was a railroad that stretch from chattanooga in the far upper left-hand corner of the map to atlanta, which is in the bottom center of your map. both armies are relying on the western and atlantic. it was a good plan. it was a very good plan. and initially, it unfolded just as sherman hoped it would. on may the eighth, mcpherson makes his march down. he gets to the gap, which the confederates have left unguarded.
they've been there all winter -- and one of the criticisms you can level a johnson is that even though he had been encamped around dalton for many months, he really hadn't studied the geography very closely south of the town. the confederates certainly knew about the gap, but wheeler didn't have any tickets protecting him, so johnson's men are able to march through without a price. then when they come out of the eastern end of the gap, a very short distance in front of them base the cash they see -- a very short distance in front of them they see that clearly there are confederates there. the federals didn't have any cavalry with them, which is a terrible mistake. they are worried that if they continue advancing toward the
railroad, the federals might march down from dalton and strike him in the flank. he keeps moving east. so, in that it rushing forward, seizing the western atlantic and cutting the supply line, mcpherson instead pulls his army back to the gap. when johnson learns of this, he orders a retreat, very well organized. one of his troops from the dalton vicinity comes back up. mcpherson had lost an enormous opportunity to strike a crippling blow at the confederates.
sherman realized this and he wrote to mcpherson, "i regret beyond measure that you did not break the railroad here cohere realized it was an enormous opportunity. on may -- break the railroad." on may 14, an enormous battle was fought. both armies are fortified there. they are constructing laud and dirt works whenever they halt for any appreciable time. tactically then, the two-day battle is a draw, but at the operational level, sherman scores a great victory by getting across the river at a fairy site -- ferry site.
and he forces johnson to retreat. johnson retreats and you can look in the middle of your map now. he retreats down to the vicinity of a small town where he hopes to lay a trap for sherman. the rogue network is such that sherman ends up dividing his army as they marched south, and johnson's plan was to strike one of the wings of sherman's army as a marched south. unfortunately for johnson, john bell hood, who has been ordered to launch this attack, doesn't do so, and then in a conference that's held between johnson and the corps commanders, hood and lee unitas polk that the army needs to retreat again. exactly what happened at this conference and who said what was a point of bitter contention between joe johnson and john
bell hood for many, many years. each had a very different version of what happened said is absolutely impossible to reconcile, and we don't need to go into the details of it now, but the upside is that johnson saw that his corps commanders didn't have any confidence they could hold the position and the army retreated yet again.
sherm\n at this point is pretty optimistic about the course of the campaign and in a wonderfully evocative phrase, or passage rather, he writes -- this is in mid-may. "we are now in motion like a vast tide of bees and expect to swarm over the chattahoochee in a few days." the chattahoochee was the river flowing from east to west that would be the last natural barrier between sherman and atlanta. by the third day, johnson's army was entrenched in a very strong position in the mountains. you can see it on your map there just below the etowah river. sherman was very familiar with the mountains. in fact, the geography of this entire section of georgia. he had spent time here in the 1840's as a young army officer. he had been stationed here. sherman knew that it would be foolish, foolish to try to attack johnson's position in the mountains, so what sherman decides to do instead is execute yet another flanking march. this one would involve some risk though because it would move the union army some miles away from the west turn and atlantic, about 15 miles away. the objective of this march would be the town of dallas, and you can see it there in the lower left-hand corner of the map with schofield, thomas, mcpherson all taking different routes to get there.
it's about 15 miles west of the a la tuna position that johnson held in 15 miles west of the railroad. but johnson's cavalry informed him of this and he moves away to try to block sherman once again. what ensued then in the final days or last week of may in the first couple of days of june was an intense skirmishing every day punctuated by union attacks against the federate the failed -- the failed. the fighting in this densely wooded region was such that the soldiers on both sides called it the hellhole. when sherman realized the johnson's lines were pretty strong along the dallas ticket line, and that it would be impractical for him to continue south to go around the western flank of johnson's army because it would keep the union forces
away from the railroad for too long, he decided to shift back eat word -- eastward toward the western atlantic. by the end of the day, sherman's army was experiencing some pretty serious supply shortages. they had simply been away for too long, and even though 5000 widen sounds like a lot -- wagons sounds like a lot, with an army the size of sherman's, it is really not sufficient to supply a day after day that far from the railroad. so both armies shift back over
toward the railroad. then the skies open up and it starts to rain. n/a continues to rain over and over, day after -- and it continues to reign over and over day after day for the first few weeks of june. both armies are nearly immobilized, as you can imagine, trying to move in enormous wagon train down mad, down roads that are knee-deep in mud, you can imagine being in a trench that is maybe full up to your knees in water and mud. they are broken down physically. and this continues throughout the campaign. the campaign is similar to the overland campaign and the armies are in constant contact. there is constant turmoil day
after day, no rest if you are in the trenches on the front lines, and that takes an enormous toll on everyone. sherman becomes frustrated then. the pace of his advance is slowed, and he makes a decision to deviate from the strategy that has been successful up until this point the flanking maneuvers. he writes, "i am now inclined to feign both flanks on the sides and come to the center. it may cost as dear but the result would be better than any attempts to pass around." his army at this time was defending a line a miles long. his rationale was that there must be a weak point in that line. with the element of surprise,
johnson's line might succeed and score a great victory. if it doesn't work, sherman could once again go back to conducting flanking maneuvers. there is also some evidence in both sherman's personal and official correspondence that like a lot of career army officers at the time of the civil war, he felt that fighting for prolonged times behind earthworks could damage the morale of the men, that it would make them timid, in effect. john bell hood was very open about this in his memoir, advance and retreat, and claims that lee felt the same way. so sherman orders attacks, and the resulting battle fought on june 27, 1864 was a costly defeat for sherman. the troops that launched the
attack, union soldiers were bloodily repulsed. they suffered about 3000 casualties. sherman took a lot of heat from the northern press. his men were disheartened. but, if you look at the losses that sherman's army sustained up until this point, they paled in comparison to what was happening in virginia. consider the losses of just a single day of fighting in the wilderness. 3000 casualties sustained, you will see that sherman is taking a lot of territory and suffering relatively few losses as a
result. the only success of the day -- that was a phrase sherman use -- did occur in a flanking maneuver launched by cofield's army against the far southern end of johnson's long line. schofield actually managed to get his troops closer than did johnson, that's closer to johnson, and this is what forced johnson to abandon the line then fall back. so, sherman's troops advanced to the chattahoochee. the confederates are in a position that is fairly impregnable. it would be crazy to attack it.
but in one of the most masterful maneuvers sherman executed during the campaign, he manages to cross north of johnson's position. this is the first time he has gone around johnson's right flank instead of his left flank, and by the second week of july, johnson abandons the chattahoochee line, falls back, and at that point, he is right on the outskirts of him atlanta. -- outskirts of atlanta. when the confederates retreat across the chattahoochee, they are right on the outskirts of the gate city of atlanta as it was called. sherman had achieved something pretty remarkable at this point. he had taken all of northwest georgia, a region important in terms of agriculture and industry, and had taken an army that was strong still in numbers and morale.
contrast that to the position of the army of the potomac when it gets to the outskirts of petersburg, and the morale of the army is pretty shaky. by this point, jefferson davis has had enough of joe johnson. jefferson davis has lost faith in joe johnson's ability to hold the city of atlanta. johnson repeatedly told the davis administration and politicians who visited his headquarters that the best way to support -- to sport the federals's out of georgia was to strike their supply line.
but johnson claimed that his calgary -- cavalry could not do this. he needed reinforcements to defend the flanks of the army as it fell back. johnson didn't have a line long enough to defend the men. so what he asked over and over was for the davis administration to send the horse command east to break sherman's supply line. this would involve stripping the states of alabama and mississippi of all of their defenders, and that was something davis -- i think wisely -- refused to do.
richard mcmurray and others have pointed out that alabama and mississippi were ready important states. stripping the states of their defenders would have opened up the rich agricultural region of the river about a. it would've opened up important industrial cities like selma. it would not have been a smart move. it's highly debatable, too, whether men could've actually created enough damage in the long term for sherman to have to retreat. sherman was acutely aware that his supply line was vulnerable and he went to great lengths to try to protect it.
we don't have time to talk about the ways. on july 17, 1860 four, jefferson davis makes the extremely controversial decision -- it was controversial in the summer of 1864, it's still controversial today, of relieving joe johnson of command. and replacing him with one of his corps commanders, john bell hood, an officer probably all of you know had gained a reputation in 1862 in 1863 as one of lee's s for data and division commanders. he had a -- best brigade and division commanders. he had a reputation of being a very bold commander. in a message that relieved joe johnson, the secretary of war set as you have failed to arrest the advance of the enemy to the vicinity of atlanta far in the interior of georgia and expressed no confidence that you can defeat or repel him you are hereby relieved.
so, he is relieved of minute dash of command and he has a very clear mandate that he has to fight -- so, he is relieved of command and he has a very clear mandate that he has to fight for the city of atlanta. he doesn't have a lot of room to maneuver. and there is evidence that hood had been angling for this command for some time before getting it. he was an intensely ambitious officer. johnson then, a general who "lacked the ability to shape campaigns." throughout his career, he reacted to the moves of his opponents rather than seizing initiative. that was clear in atlanta. the army needed but could not get robert e lee. but upon taking command immediately ordered attacks. you can see the first of the three main battles that was fought around the sea and up for the very top, the middle of your map.
hud's plan was to attack the union forces advancing from the north after they crossed peachtree creek but before they could entrench. his corps commanders were supposed to send their units forward in echelon. the attacks ended up being uncoordinated, not very well managed by the core commanders, and after hard fighting, the federal's managed to hold their line. confederal casualties numbered about 25 hundred. federals about 2100. you can find a book on the battle, a very detailed tactical study by my friend robert jenkins, that i very much recommend. we are only now getting details of the battles in the west. we have had details of the
eastern battles for many decades. a day after peach creek, let learned that the far left flank is vulnerable. it's in the air. and he decides to try to execute a flanking march to strike this vulnerable portion of sherman's line. this is part of the army of tennessee under mcpherson. hood orders a very long flank march on the night of july 21 under the troops of party. these are men who had already had an exhausting 48 hours before hand. what he was asking his men to do was ugly unrealistic in terms of their physical abilities. -- simply unrealistic in terms of their physical abilities. a were exhausted shoulder -- exhausted soldiers. nonetheless, the flank march was
executed and on july 22 largest halibut campaign is fought. this is the one in more allies in the enormous -- immortalized in the enormous circular painting in atlanta. the map in the upper right-hand corner gives you some sense of the battle. it was the single bloodiest day of fighting in the last 10 months of the civil war. the confederates did achieve some success. they break through the union line. they capture large numbers of risen or zen canon. they kill general james c mcpherson, -- of prisoners and
canon. they kill general james c mcpherson, the highest ranking officer in the army. this is a huge blow to sherman, as you can imagine. but at the end of the day, the federal's launched counterattacks. they retake the forces of their line, and even though many confederates at the time saw this as a victory, in retrospect, this is a battle that cost the army very heavily. there is another book all the "the day dixie died" that i would recommend. hud's army -- hud's army lost between 6300-6700 men that single day of fighting. following the battle, sherman decided to change his strategy and reorient his efforts to take the battle to the west of atlanta with hopes of cutting off the last railroad that led south out of atlanta. at the same time, sherman tries t'o launch cavalry raids and wreck the rail lines south of
the city. he responds to these movements by sending a quarter out west to atlanta to block the federal movement out there. these are troops he sends out there under a very inexperienced corps commander who is a close friend. lee gets out to the area where he is supposed to be. he takes the federal's out there and he takes it upon himself to start a battle. he doesn't have any orders to do this, but he starts launching frontal attacks at the federal
armies. and these are the armies of tennessee who, as i mentioned, have never known defeat. and what happened is cabochon mountain in reverse. it's the confederates losing heavily fortified battles. the confederates lose about 3000 men. the federal's lose about 600. the calgary larry -- the cavalry raids prove disastrous. they ended up being smashed by the confederate cavalry. this is wieder's finest performance in his career, and is lower is sherman's already poor opinion of the cavalry and convinces him that the cavalry can't wreck a railroad. it's going to take more than that.
hud had not achieved what he wanted in the three battles, and none of them, incidentally, were intended to be frontal attacks against entrenched union soldiers. in each instance, what he was trying to institute was a flank attack, and it didn't work. but, cumulatively, these battles did have the effect of making sherman a little more cautious than he had been. two of sherman's core commanders had been classmates of good -- hood, and new him very well. they knew his reputation, and sherman did to. so, atlanta is not completely surrounded but sherman brings out the big bands among bards the city. he is also trying to get around the city -- brings out the big guns and bombards the city.
he is also trying to get around the city. he is facing the discharge of 10,000 men in august. he is too impatient for a siege. he is a pretty nervous, impatient individual. he doesn't want a long drawnout affair like what happened in petersburg, so he decides on a bold plan. he decides to abandon the siege lines east and north of atlanta, pull his troops out of the trenches, leave a single core north of the city to hold the point where his supply line, the western atlantic, crosses the chattahoochee river. take the rest of the army on a wide flanking march to the west and southwest and south of atlanta that's shown in the lower right-hand corner of your map, and cut the west railroad south of the city.
sherman was commenced at this point the cavalry raids could not do the job of wrecking the railroad. so his infantry pulls out of the challenges -- out of the trenches and they reached the western. put in the meantime has sent his cavalry off to do a johnson had not been willing to do. we are is set off on a raid cache wieder is set off on a raid to try to disrupt sherman's supply lines. that's a spectacular failure and he wrecks his cavalry corps in the process. so, first, when he learns that the federal trenches north of the city are vacant, what do you think he has -- he believes?
wieder's rate has been a success, sherman is retreating. but then he realizes what going on and he heads towards jonesboro. if you look on the map toward the lower right you will see jonesboro at the very bottom. they are given the orders to push the armies of tennessee away from the railroad, protect that vital supply line, and on the first day of the battle of jonesboro, the last day of the battle of the campaign, these two confederate corps launched attacks are repulsed. in the meantime, hood finds out that the rail lines north of jonesboro have been broken. you can see that on the map, and he abandons the city on the night of september 1. during the evacuation of the city, the confederates discover they have left a large train of munitions in the eastern central portion of atlanta that they obviously can't get out so they
set it on fire. it's 28 boxcars full of explosives, and you can imagine this sound was heard 15-20 miles away. this is the scene, incidentally, that is to pick it in "gone with the wind" when fred is in the wagon trying to get scarlett, melody, and the -- rhett butler is trying to get scarlett, melody, and the baby back. i always tell my kids how some of those sets are from "the wizard of oz." it's worth pointing out here that the destruction of atlanta
cannot be attributed solely to uncle billy sherman. hood's army began the process with the distraction of this train and then sherman to get a good deal further. on september 2, the mayor of atlanta, james calhoun, surrendered the city. sherman announced abraham lincoln, "atlanta is ours and fairly won." he also said he would not push much further on this rate, which is an interesting word to describe the campaign. atlanta turned into a garrison city. the fall of the city caused great celebration in the north. it gave at desperately needed boost to the fortunes of the republican party. and here, here is where we get to the significance of the atlanta campaign, what makes it so important. so, the following land, along with the victories won by
sheridan in the shenandoah valley later and set number hope tesh helped to boost the confidence of northern voters that -- helped to boost the confidence of the northern voters that lincoln was going to win a victory and that the president needed a second term in office. the fall of atlanta helped to reassure the reelection of lincoln and also offer the public a reaffirmation of his war policy. lincoln gets a proper mandate to continue a war that would end on the basis of both reunion and emancipation, something that would not have been the case of the democrats of one.
at the same time, the fall of atlanta and lincoln's reelection helped to ensure that u.s. grant would remain as general in chief and sherman as his chief lieutenant and that these two men would be the architects of ultimate union victory in the civil war. thank you. do we have time for a few questions? do you want to come up to the microphone? yes or. >> was there any thought to putting robert e lee in charge of all of the confederate army? >> yes, that did happen ultimately, but after the atlanta campaign.
the question, if you did not hear it, was if there was any thought to putting lee in charge of all of the confederate army, and that did happen but after the atlanta campaign. davis relied very heavily on lee's advice not only on the eastern theater but also on matters in the west. when davis was considering removing joe johnson from command, he asked lee who do you think would be a good replacement. lee said that hood was a bold fighter on the battlefield but -- this is paraphrasing, i should know this rebating, but he said something to the effect that he was a bold fighter -- bold on the battlefield the careless off the battlefield.
when he was saying was that when it comes to administrative responsibilities, who had some weaknesses there. yes. >> how did sherman come up with the idea for sherman's knots, or sherman's bowties as they were sometimes called. what he's asking about are the twisted rails. when the union troops would wreck rail lines -- or confederates, for that matter. you get thousands of injured team and -- of infantrymen to stand next to a rail line and they would lift up the crossed eyes, separate with -- cross ties, separate them with hammers, pile up the ties into huge heaps and light bonfires and when the center of the iron rails turned hot, the union soldiers would grab it.
i was rereading this and thought, i hope they used clubs because those would've been pretty hot. they would take the red-hot rails and twist them around trees, which would make it extraordinarily difficult for the confederates to straighten out and reuse. there's some good photographs taken of this process. but your question was one i really can't answer. my gut feeling is that it wasn't sherman the device to this but something that engineers and
soldiers came up with. it had been employed prior to this time. sherman had wrecked railroads in eastern mississippi, the meridia next addition -- meridian expedition. that's a great question. i don't know if we know where it originated but it became a pretty common procedure. >> the campaigns in 64, grant and sherman, the warheads switched in 61 and 62 to capturing capitals and capital cities to capturing manufacturing and supply centers. sherman was marching toward depots. could you tell us a little bit how important to the war effort were these depots and supply centers?
>> sure. atlanta was absolutely vital. georgia had some of the largest manufacturing centers in the confederacy, not just atlanta but augusta. these term part of the state had the largest powder mill in the world. there were quartermaster depots in atlanta, columbus and augusta that produced an enormous number of uniforms for the army. there were boundaries that produced canon. if you look at the rail network of the deep south, it's evident immediately how important atlanta is for being at the juncture of many railroads. we could go on and on about the contractors that were producing pistols and rifle muskets and accoutrements, all different kinds of accoutrements. they were absolutely vital and
the confederates realize that. although, by the time the siege takes place of atlanta, the city's value as a center of industry has really fallen because they had evacuated so much of the machinery and so many of the workers and send them south to columbus in macon. so, there are only about 3000 civilians left in atlanta when sherman seizes the city, and when he takes the city, he orders the expulsion of all of that. yes. >> you mentioned at the beginning of your talk sherman's logistics during the campaign. how much of that duty directly oversee and how much of it was delegated to somebody else and who for that matter was a
delicate to -- was a delegated to? why sure, that's a great question. sherman had very capable subordinates and staff that would look after various logistical concerns. he had authority over the railroads. this was a controversial matter in the months leading up to the campaign. he abandoned civilian traffic near the railroad. he had planned for the confederates to try to break the railroads by stockpiling rails and ties at various locations. he had crews of civilians, african-americans avoid -- employed as civilian laborers and airs that could rebuild -- and engineers they could rebuild railroads. they would always burn these bridges, and it was truly remarkable how quick we sherman's engineers and laborers could rebuild these huge spans.
that's where the real mastery and logistics comes into play. one moreover here. >> general hood has been sherm's engineers and laborers could rebuild these huge, wooden stands. real mastery the legit x i think comes into play. one more question over here. general hood has been undergoing a bit of a reevaluation recently. it seems to me that his plan, once he took over as commander , were army of tennessee fairly good plans on paper, it is just that his army could not execute them for one reason or another. could you comment briefly on hood's generalship as commander of the army of tennessee? >> sure. certainly does not have the
, and i of logistics becomes painfully evident during the tennessee campaign in 1864, but hood is operating under some pretty severe handicaps, not only his own physical handicaps, but he also has a command structure with a lot of generals who are woefully inexperienced at the core level of command, and they don't execute hood's orders and don't carry out these plans the way he had envisioned. i think the other important factor is that hood's plans are just on realistic given the time constraints that he is working under and the physical conditions of his men. at atlanta is a prime example, that hood was asking too much of men who were already totally exhausted. that is kind of a short answer. the renaissance you are talking
about -- that is not the right word to use -- the reevaluation is you areeneralship right, it is taking place, authors like richard mcmurray and others. thank you. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] american watching history tv, 48 hours of programming on american history every week on c-span3. follow us on twitter @cspanhistory for information on our schedule and to keep up with the latest history news. >> to the british, he was a pirate. to the subjects of america, he was their first and greatest naval hero. would there be a memorial to john paul jones in washington's park? had his revolutionary war exploits limited to daring attacks of british vessels? the answer is probably not. for the scottish-born jones, a place in history books was assured on a single day in 1779.
commanding a ship named by benjamin franklin. jones triumph over the newer, britishgically superior ship in a savage north sea battle. at the height of the battle, jones delivered his celebrating fighting cry, i have not at least begun to fight. so at least recounted one of his officers. these words appear on the back of the memorial along with the depiction of him raising the new american flag on the first time on a vessel in service to the united states. dedicated in 1912, a 10-foot-tall bronze statue of
the admiral is flanked by sculpted ed dolphins. a marble column of 15 feet in height is the backdrop. while jones' heroism and skill is beyond doubt, he certainly never said i have not yet begun to fight. the first printed reference to the electrifying phrase appeared in 1825, almost 50 years after the battle. more than 30 years since john paul jones died in paris, impoverished, and forgotten. exit today at 5:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv, historian brian allen jake explores former senator barry goldwater's commitment to conservation and how it evolved over his lifetime. goldwater was the republican presidential nominee in 1964, 50 years ago. this is american history tv. all weekend, every weekend on c-span3.
>> c-span campaign to a 14 debate coverage continues today at noon eastern with north carolina incumbent democratic senator kay hagan and her republican opponent tom tillis followed by the california governor's race between democratic incumbent jerry brown kashkair.cas then tom loy and fully. more than 100 debates for the control of congress. >> next, author thomas buckley discusses the establishment of religious freedom in the u.s. mr. buckley focuses on virginia's groundbreaking statute on religious freedom authored by thomas jefferson and its role in bringing religious freedom to the newly formed united states. mr. buckley also describes how the statue's influence continues to modern-day. the virginia historical society hosted this event.